South Africa isn’t reaching its digital potential. This is according to research conducted by Tufts University in partnership with Mastercard. SA was placed alongside countries like Peru and Pakistan on a “watch out” list of nations that are failing to take full advantage of digital. Looking at factors such as mobile broadband penetration, intellectual property laws and anonymised Mastercard data, the progress of 60 countries was tracked between 2008 and 2015.
Countries that surpassed South Africa include Jordan, Bulgaria and Thailand, but SA did rank above Colombia, Indonesia and Brazil. “Countries such as South Africa, Peru, Egypt, Greece and Pakistan face significant challenges, constrained both by low levels of digital advancement and a slow pace of growth,” the research report said. South Africa did place ahead of the other five African countries included in the survey – these being Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria and Cameroon.
According to Frost & Sullivan, South African telecommunications operators are currently in the early stages of digital transformation, especially when compared to the level of progress being made in more developed markets. While many local telcos are keen to explore new revenue streams, legacy IT systems, disjointed IT stacks, and lack of integration between business support systems and operations support systems are limiting their opportunity to successfully leverage, and offer their customers, the best digital services.
But this doesn’t mean that telcos are totally lacking a digital strategy. Frost & Sullivan highlights the following market shifts as evidence:
Internal organisational restructuring is the order of the day for local telecommunications operators. Many have established dedicated digital departments to help them better develop their offerings and more effectively execute their digital strategies.
In line with this, market consolidation is rampant. South African telcos are constantly looking to build their capabilities and build their competitive advantage. To do so, the top local operators are acquiring businesses with different areas of expertise so that they can offer their consumer and business customers end-to-end ICT and digital services.
Want to truly reach your digital potential? Well, you’ll need to do your homework. Our monthly newsletter is a great resources for any business on a digital transformation journey. Sign up below.